In transit III: to the little boy in the taxi

I can’t promise you there will never be any bullies in the world, and I can’t promise that the people who are supposed to look out for you will always do their job. I can’t promise you that counting to ten is the best way to control your anger. And I sure as hell won’t tell you that you gotta put up with people’s crap and bottle everything up inside of you.

Because sometimes fighting back feels damn good, and sometimes it hurts you a whole lot more than they did in the first place. So you gotta figure that one out on your own. But I will tell you and promise you and pray that talking to a stranger in the back of a taxi on your way home is the a step in healing the hurt that the world dumps on you. And I will hope against hope that you won’t break, no matter what they throw at you.

You are doing great so far, kid. Don’t stop now.

Sincerely,

The stranger in the back of the taxi

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In Transit II: Passionate Parenting?

'I love you, GDI'.

This incident happened one night as Mummy and I were getting in a taxi. We approach the car and the little boy who was in the back seat gets out and goes around to his dad on the other side, his mother cussing at him to get back in the car. So we get in anyway, and then the father gets in and I think he was preparing to let the boy sit on his lap when the car suddenly moves forward. And stops on the little boy’s foot. What ensued was one of those five second moments that feel like an eternity, with everyone yelling – from the gas station attendant to the little’s boy’s dad to the little boy. And the mother? Sits there calm as you please, muttering that she did tell him fi no go out ina di firs plies.

When the car finally comes off the boy’s foot maybe ten seconds later, the dad is cussing up a blue storm, waving the kid’s shoe all over the place, getting up in the mom’s face, and generally being kind of horrible to people. At the time, I mostly wanted him to shut up with the bad words, because the kid was fine beyond the initial, what, five minutes of crying. And because angry bad words feel like a prickly bug crawling up my ear and dying a painful death.

But on reflection, the guys was probably just scared for his kid and really upset (obviously) that he was hurt. And despite the way he acted on that, that’s exactly the kind of protectiveness you like to see in parents these days.

Pax.

{14} in transit: the cornwall courts death rattle

The woman who approaches the car is not small in frame, or young. The brightly patterned skirt that hugs her body seems extra loud, ballooning out as it holds her legs and hips together.

“Green Pon’, driver?” she asks, wiping the sweat off her forehead with one hand and gripping a scandal bag full of groceries in the other.

The driver, who falls into the category of cantankerous old men, takes his time to answer. He’s doing a slow survey of the stand with his eyes and eventually gives the woman a grudging nod. She responds with a loud cheups and opens the door, levering herself into the front seat. Her descent is accompanied by muted squeaks and groans from the car’s chassis, and she pulls the door shut with a clanky thud.

Bending to check his passenger status through the back window, the old man scratches his chin absently and throws a last longing glance between the plethora of passengers still waiting on a drive and the meagre three adults he has in his back seat. He starts the car regardless, and pulls into the flow of traffic.

The car picks its way over the limestone-style landscape on King Street and Green Pond with a series of clunks and scrapes. Stones glance off the metal underbelly of the car with sharp pangs, and the overall effect is not unlike the last rattling breaths of a dying man. From the rear of the vehicle, it sounds as if various essential parts are being picked off and left behind in the stony rubble. Machine doesn’t stand a chance against the unyielding terrain.

The passengers sit grim-faced and unmoving as they bounce with the rhythm of a hill and gully ride. The car’s suspension is so shot to hell that the men who sit at either door can feel every jerk of the car tyre through the peeling upholstery. The car has probably seen better days but that was long before it was slapped with the red plate and Taxi Association insignia – scarlet letters that invite all sorts of abuse. Peeling seats and rickety chassis are the less obvious forms, but there are worse: the door handle that sticks out at a crooked angle, for one.

“It open from di outside,” the driver tells the woman when she tries to jimmy the dismantled latch.

She gives another cheups and reaches her arm through the window to let herself out of the car.

The driver continues to mutter to himself as he drives off and his gravelly voice overlays the out of sync radio that pulses out Zip FM tunes like a sluggish heart beat. They’re a sad accompaniment for the taxi’s lament, but it manages to reach the housing scheme without any fatal stalls. With less groans and grinding now that it’s on firmer ground, the taxi zips its way through the maze of streets and houses, delivering its meagre cargo one by one to their respective destinations.

With one reckless arm dangling from the window (calling to familiar faces, or giving rude gestures when smaddy bad drive ‘im), the old man turns his old faithful automobile in the direction of town so that taxi and driver meander slowly away in a wake of dust and the heartbreaking sound of parts in need of mending.

-fin-